What Musk Did To NPR Has The Media Livid

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Yesterday, Twitter added the label, “US State-affiliated Media” causing many to raise their brow.

Twitter‘s decision to label NPR as astateaffiliated media outlet has sparked criticism from both political parties, as well as from experts in the field of disinformation. The nonprofit media company receives less than 1% of its annual budget from federal sources, and its CEO has spoken out against the label, arguing that it undermines the vital role NPR plays in providingindependent, factbased journalism and holding the powerful accountable. Press secretary Karine JeanPierre defended NPR‘s journalism during the White House‘s daily briefing, sayingthere is no doubt of the independence of NPR journalists.”

Twitter‘s owner and CEO Elon Musk weighed in on the debate, acknowledging the label had been applied to NPR and commenting that itseems accurate.” His statement has only further raised questions about the company‘s decision. 

Twitter‘s policy page used to explicitly state that NPR would not be included in this label, however the wording was altered to remove NPR without any warning.

Critics of the move have argued that it could create a false equivalency between public broadcasters and editorial control of media by government, and that it undermines the essential work of providing transparency about statebacked propaganda efforts around the world. They have also noted the move is yet another sign of Twitter‘s troubled relationship with the media, which has deteriorated since Musk bought the platform last year.

Despite the criticism, Twitter has yet to remove the label and continues to apply it to staterun propaganda outlets, further highlighting the inconsistency in their policy decisions. It remains to be seen whether the label will be removed from NPR‘s main account, or if the situation will continue to escalate. For now, it appears Twitter is content to stand by their decision, regardless of the outcry from both political parties and media experts.